In a new episode of Drink Champs, MC Serch took the time to explain just how Nas managed to own a piece of JAY-Z‘s publishing thanks to the “Dead Presidents” sample.
Host NORE first brought up how Hov name dropped Serch on his Nas-aimed diss track “Takeover,” with the exact line being “You made it a hot line, I made it a hot song” — referring to “Dead Presidents” — “And you ain’t get a coin, ni**a, you were getting f*cked then / I know who I paid, God: Serchlite Publishing.” Calling it “a great story,” the Illmatic executive producer began by explaining that he was the head of CHR at Def Jam around the time that JAY-Z was going to release Reasonable Doubt. “And [Kareem Biggs], Dame, and JAY come to my office and say ‘hey, we have to clear this ‘Dead Presidents’ sample. Take care of us.’ I said okay, no problem, give me twenty-five hundred — but know that we’ll have twenty-five percent of your record, on the publishing. He was like ‘alright, cool.’”
Serch continued, “He gave me a check for twenty-five hundred, I delivered it to [Zomba Music Group]. But if you look at the liner notes of “Dead Presidents,” Nas is one of the publishers. So that line can live as long as it lives, but JAY don’t own a piece of Nas’ catalog, but Nas owns a piece of JAY’s catalog. And that’s a fact though.”
He further clarified the possible misunderstanding from JAY-Z’s lyric that Nas doesn’t have ownership over his own catalog. “I have a five percent admin fee on those two albums,” Sech said. “If Nas wants to do it, I sign off. For me, when I think about being a production company, there are two trains of thought. Train one is the artist ain’t shit, and the production company makes all the money. The second train is, the artist ain’t shit and I’m going to figure out how to jerk the artists. That’s mostly how hip-hop is run, the production companies.”
“I had a third train of thought,” Serch added, continuing, “I wasn’t going to be the Jew to take advantage off the Black man. I don’t need to get wealthy off Nas, and I don’t. My checks are very humble and I’m okay with that. Cause they’ll go for the rest of my life. When you look at streaming, Illmatic streams four-hundred million a year to this day. I get my fair share.”
Watch MC Serch’s Drink Champs interview above.
Elsewhere in music, Drake has been named the Artist of the Decade at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards.
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